How Will My Birth Control Affect My Bleeding
Birth control methods such as the pill, patch, vaginal ring, shot and IUD can all impact your menstrual bleeding. Some birth control methods can increase bleeding, and some can decrease it. Many aspects of bleeding can be affected, and these effects can change over time. Periods can be longer, shorter, heavier, or lighter, depending on the method of birth control. Spotting and irregular bleeding are common side effects of most methods of hormonal birth control, especially in the first few months of use.
Birth control pills
Birth control pills were originally only packaged as 28 pills 21 pills containing the hormone required to suppress ovulation, and 7 placebo pills . The 7 days of placebo were designed to allow menstruation to occur. Today there are a variety of regimens available, such as 24 days of active-ingredient pills and 4 days of placebo, and extended-cycle regimens that can be taken for up to a year to stop all menstrual bleeding.
Injected and implanted contraceptives
Irregular, unpredictable bleeding is very common in women using long-acting, progestin-based birth control methods . After a year of use, about half of women will have no periods.
Emergency contraception is not to be used as a regular method of birth control but, if needed, it can help prevent unplanned pregnancies.
Factors To Help You Decide
Dr. Brant asks her patients these 3 questions to help them come to a decision thats right for them:
When Should I See My Doctor About Irregular Bleeding
Since every womans body reacts differently to these birth control methods, it can be hard to know when irregular bleeding is abnormal. You should see your doctor if you experience abnormal bleeding:
- And are pregnant
- And have a lot of pain during your period
- After intercourse
- And you have been using the same method of birth control for more than three months
- That is unexpected
- And you are younger than 8 years old or have no other signs of puberty and have vaginal bleeding
You should also see your doctor if you are taking a combined contraceptive pill and your periods have stopped completely during the week of placebo pills, although in many cases this can be normal.
There are treatments available for irregular bleeding that can help, or your doctor may recommend changes to your birth control method.
Whats Considered A Heavy Period
You might be surprised to learn that about one in five women experience menorrhagia, the medical term for heavy periods. Because each womans period is unique, it can be tricky to know if what you think is normal for your cycle is actually excessive bleeding. In fact, half of women who experience menorrhagia dont realize they have it.
While the best way to know if your heavy periods are chronic is to talk to a doctor, you can keep an eye out for some common symptoms of menorrhagia.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, any of the following is considered a symptom of heavy bleeding:
- Bleeding for more than seven days
- Blood soaks through one or more tampons or pads every hour
- You need to change your pad or tampon during the night
- You need to double up on protection to keep from leaking
- The blood clots in your flow are the size of a quarter or larger
What To Expect From Insertion To 6 Months
For the first three to six months after your IUD is placed, expect the unexpected when it comes to your periods. They may not come as regularly as they once did. You could have some spotting in between periods or heavier-than-usual periods.
The length of your periods may also increase temporarily. About 20 percent of people bleed for more than eight days in their first few months after insertion.
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The Many Benefits Of Iuds
- Theyre long-acting. Depending on the type, IUDs are FDA-approved to last anywhere from three to 10 years.
- Theyre more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, a figure similar to permanent sterilization.
- You can have an IUD taken out any time and your fertility returns immediately.
- Hormonal IUD use often leads to lighter, shorter, less painful periods, which is why theyre prescribed for women who have heavy, painful periods. Up to half of women even stop having their periods altogether after three years on Mirena, though this percentage is lower with other hormonal IUDs, says Dr. Brant.
- Theres minimal effort required, an added bonus if youre forgetful about birth control. You just have to make that initial appointment to get it inserted.
- They can be used in any age population, from teens to menopausal women.
- Research shows that hormonal IUDs may reduce your risk of developing endometrial cancer.
- They can be inserted right after you give birth, though this does increase the risk of expulsion.
- The copper IUD can be safely used for emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex or birth control failure.
Why Does A Copper Iud Cause Heavier Periods
Youre sitting at your gynecologist appointment listening to your physician explain the numerous different kinds of IUDs, which stands for intrauterine devices. It can be extremely overwhelming choosing the right IUD for your body especially when some IUDs there are many benefits and side effects to decipher. And if you already have an IUD, you may want to see how the type of metal used in different types of non-hormonal birth controls could be the cause of your period changes.
Whether youve been thinking about getting a copper IUD or you already have one, its important to know how it could affect your periods length, heaviness, and regularity. You may have heard that hormonal birth controls can help decrease heavy bleeding or cramps, but do non-hormonal copper IUDs do the same?
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Women Don’t Need To Have Periods
Using birth control to eliminate menstruation isnt unsafe, even if some worry its unnatural.
No matter why a woman is seeing a doctorbe it for a headache or for a broken toeshe can reliably expect to be asked the date of her last period within the first minute of her consultation. Because of the confused looks I get when I reply with May 2012, I started prefacing my answer with an explanation that I have a Mirena IUD, an intra-uterine device used for birth control that lessens periods for some women and eliminates them completely for others.
I fall into the latter category. Though most nurses and doctors move along after this response, a nurse recently looked at me in undisguised disapproval and asked, But what about when you want children? I told her that I would take it out when I want children. But doesnt it feel unnatural to not have a period? she asked. I told her it feels great to not have a period. She shook her head and said, Just seems strange to have a foreign object in your body like that. I replied, Yeah, like a baby. She stopped asking questions at that point.
There is no medical reason why a woman has to menstruate every month, said Alyssa Dweck, an assistant clinical professor of OB/GYN at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. And there is nothing wrong with tweaking the system if bleeding is difficult for women.
Managing Menstruation With Hormonal Contraceptives
Menstruation is a normal part of every young womans life. But as their bodies learn to regulate the hormones that control menstruation, adolescents commonly experience irregular periods, heavy bleeding and painful cramps. It can take several years after a girl’s first period for her body to settle into a pattern of regular menstrual cycles.
Some adolescents miss school or sit out from sports and other activities because of painful periods. While its important to have a doctor check for underlying medical causes, many menstrual difficulties can be managed with hormonal medications that are commonly also used for preventing pregnancy, such as birth control pills, patches and intrauterine devices. These medications and devices regulate the menstrual cycle by introducing hormones into the body at a steady pace.
Hormonal birth control can alleviate a lot of symptoms of PMS and irregular periods,” says Diane Rubin, clinical research coordinator for the PolicyLab at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia . “Many, many young people use birth control for non-contraceptive benefits.
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Are There Iud Removal Side Effects
You may have some spotting for a little while after your nurse or doctor takes out your IUD, but otherwise you should feel totally normal.
When you stop using an IUD, your body will eventually return to the way it was before you got it. So if your period got heavier on the copper IUD, it will go back to what was normal for you before you got the IUD. If you stopped getting your period on the hormonal IUD, your period will eventually come back after the IUD is out. It can take a few months for your period to go back to whats normal for you.
An important thing to note: you can get pregnant right away once your IUD is out, even if your periods arent regular or havent come back yet. So if you have your IUD removed but you dont want to get pregnant, make sure to use another birth control method.
Everyones body is different, and our bodies also change over time. So theres no way to know exactly how your body will react to going off the IUD. But any side effects that you may have will go away within a few months as your body gets used to not having an IUD anymore.
If youre really worried about the side effects of going off the IUD, talk with your nurse or doctor. They may be able to give you more specific information about what to expect based on your personal medical history.
This Is What Happens To Your Uterine Lining If You Have An Iud
Getting your first period is exciting. All of sudden your body is like,Congratulations! Youre officially a woman! But then, as years go by and you realize youre stuck with monthly bleeding for like, a long time, its a lot less exciting. Many women then look to birth control as a way to mitigate the pesky side-effects like cramping, bloating, and heavy bleeding that come along with that monthly visit from Aunt Flo. IUDs are a great, effective way to make your periods better, with some users even noticing that they eliminate monthly bleeding entirely.
But with less bleeding you may also be wondering what is happening to your uterine lining. Dont worry, we asked to pros to clue us in on whats going on inside.
Also Check: Why Do We Get Period Cramps
Leading Up To Removal
IUD’s tend to expire after three to 12 years, depending on what kind you have. While you don’t have to get it removed on the exact day it was inserted, you shouldn’t wait too long.
“There is a little flexibility, but not too much. I would not recommend delaying removal for more than a few weeks without having a direct conversation with your doctor,” says Kameelah Phillips, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist at . “Depending on the IUD, the risks of delaying beyond the recommended time frame can include irregular bleeding, challenges with removal, and an increased chance of pregnancy.”
You can schedule your IUD removal at any point during your menstrual cycle, according to Barb Dehn, NP, a women’s health nurse practitioner in the Silicon Valley area of Northern California. Some women with hormonal IUDs don’t even have periods, because the progesterone released by the IUD keeps the lining of the uterus so thin that it doesn’t need to slough off and come out.
The only preparation you need to do before removal is to schedule the appointment. No other preparation is needed, regardless of whether you have a hormonal or non-hormonal type of IUD, according to Dehn.
However, “if a woman is prone to cramping or has more pain with her periods, she can take an over the counter pain reliever one to two hours ahead of time,” says Dehn. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen should be fine.
Can An Iud Cause A Heavy Period
Heavy periods are one of the common side effects of an intrauterine device, or IUD, especially copper IUDs such as ParaGard. However, several other factors can also cause a heavy period. If your heavy periods are caused by an IUD and this is a problem for you, you may like to consider another form of birth control.
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We Offer Iud Insertion And Removal
Interested in an IUD as a form of convenient birth control? Weve got the answers you need, and were happy to provide additional information that can help you make a decision. Well also remove your IUD if you decide you want to have children or if the IUD is expired and you want another one.
Want to know more? Contact us to schedule an appointment.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.
What To Expect From A Hormonal Iud
Everybody and every body is unique and will react to an IUD differently. It can take months for your body to fully adjust to this new form of birth control .
From insertion to the 6-month mark, your periods may be heavier or last longer than usual. About 20 percent of women using a hormonal IUD have periods that last longer than 8 days. Spotting is also common at the beginning.
After the 6-month mark, your period should become less frequent and lighter, or it could stop altogether.
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